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Television and Media Essay - Negative Effects of TV Violence

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The Negative Effects of Television

 

For most of you, as it was for me, I grew up watching three, four and even five hours of television a day. It was a part of my daily routine and it wasn't easy for me to break. I managed to do it when my family and I moved to a small city in the west. After we moved in we found out that you had to buy cable if you wanted to have television. So we attempted a little experiment. We decided that we were not going to get cable and just tough it like the good old pioneers. This was partly because we couldn't afford it after the great expense of buying a new house and out of the wishes of my wise mother. So the family tuned out and switched off. It was nuts for a while but then I began to notice some changes taking place in my family and myself. I started to realize that television increased violence and aggression in my siblings and I, detracted from the way our family interacted and finally I noticed its adverse effects on all of our school scores. I plan to show that these adverse effects of television are reason enough to give your TV to the neighbor.

 

Now your probley saying that people are naturally violent. Look at Gengis Kahn and Adolph Hitler . None of them grew up with television and they were still killing innocent people. From what I can tell if TV had been around they would have been a whole lot worse.

 

In the book Televisions Effects, a government study compiled by George A Comstock , It states on page twenty five, that children who had viewed violent programming exhibited more aggressive behavior than children who had viewed a sports program. In the study they were able to tell which children would exhibit this behavior this shows a correlation between violent programming and violent behavior.

 

Even if a naturally violent nature is the root of the problem we also need to recognize that the television is making those naturally aggressive and violent children even more so. We need to realize that these people have a hard time distinguishing between right and wrong. We need to help correct this problem by total abstinence to television. In the book The Plug-In Drug by Marie Winn, a book about the ill effects of television on the different aspects of human life, it states "It is particularly hard for parents to buy the Idea that television instigates aggressive behavior when its function in the home is so different, television keeps children quiet and passive, cuts down on loud and boisterous play, prevents outbursts between brothers and sisters." The sad fact of the matter is, parents sometimes have to work and are not able to spend nebulous amounts of time with their children. We need to stop allowing our children to be exposed to the violent distortion of reality that TV projects, Our children should be out playing sports or just romping around in the backyard. Activities that are proven to wear kids out and don't bombard them with all kinds of extremely violent stimuli. By destroying TV we can increase productive family time. Stop desensitizing our children to violence and begin to reteach our children good manners and good morals simply by our example. In a story by Ray Bradbury called The Veldt. We see the extreme end of this TV addiction when the existence of the children's parents is of less importance than continued access to the TV room.

 

Parents you need to let TV be a tool instead of a replacement. We must take up the reigns again raise our future generations the right way, by good old human contact.

 

Now you're probably thinking to yourself, how am I supposed to live without television. It's the peacemaker in our home. When it's on the children stay out of my hair and they stop fighting with each other. Anyway it's the only time that the family really gets together. It really helps our family get along.

 

You see not only have we replaced the parent with TV we have replaced the good old-fashioned family as well. I think the effects of television on the family and person are best stated in a quote by Urie Brofenbrenner "Like the sorcerer of old the television set casts its magic spell , freezing speech and action, turning the living into silent statues so long as the enchantment lasts. The primary danger of the television screen lies not so much in the behavior it produces - although there is danger there - as in the behavior that it prevents: the talks, the games, the family festivities and arguments through which much of a child's learning takes place and trough which his character is formed. Turning on the television set can turn off the process that transforms children into people." We neglect our responsibilities as parents and families to build children and future generations with character and moral values. When the TV is on we subject our children to the values of the world. We see TV as the fix all for the evening problem. Instead of playing, nurturing and loving we use the TV as the escape hatch. It lets the adults, the rolemodels, have their time and gives the children the necessary attention that they need. While at the same time allowing the parents to keep some semblance of sanity. You see why it is so easy for us to justify TV as a necessity. The bad thing about this is that children spend very little time interacting with adults and their other family members. All they ever see are two-dimensional flashes of lights and sound, merely impressions of a human soul. So good is TV at tricking the mind that we don't even realize that children are lacking something they desperately need, a strong family.

 

In the LDS church families are a very important thing. The LDS church encourages families to take at least one night of the week and set it aside for just the family. This time is spent singing songs, playing games, and doing small acts of service. A lot of good television free family time results on this night and many needed skills like cooking and cleaning are taught to sons and daughters.

 

We need to stop letting TV be our social outlet. It just isn't the same. We are so addicted that without it for even a short period of time we go stir crazy and have no idea how to entertain ourselves. We have forgotten how to enjoy ourselves and our own family members. We need to unplug and tune out. Read a book or even play a game of Monopoly with a younger sibling. We have lost the arts of interaction. We waste our lives away trying to escape, not realizing what we have around us, always wanting the next Scooby Snack, exploding truck or funniest home video.

 

The worst place that TV beats us upside the head is in the learning department. Its like letting Dirty Harry put a big 44 round trough your skull. Now your probley going to try and tell me about good educational programs like Bill Nye and Sesame Street. We can't forget the Discovery channel. Yes, these are the rare jewels of television programming. We need to concentrate our viewing time in these areas.

 

Television despite what programming may be on is an inefficient way to learn. TV is so easy to use and it is so easy to change to a totally different program if it becomes disinteresting or boring. I personally have noticed that whenever I get the remote in my hand I have to switch channels constantly. I think if you asked me what I saw on TV I could only tell you selected parts of the last five minutes.

 

In a study conducted by Canadian researchers three towns were surveyed. One had no TV capabilities. The second city had only one channel. The third city had many channels. When reading score were compared between the three town they found that the highest scores were from the city with no TV. The next highest from the city with one channel and tailing closely behind the second city was the third in last place with many TV stations. Now you might be thinking that this study is not so great because they didn't take into account income and education of the people studied. The thing that make this study so intriguing is that the same group was able to go back into the city that had no TV after it had television for about two years. They found that the scores in the first city had dropped down with the scores of the other two cities. A sad testimony to the ill effects of television.

 

One thing we fail to realize is that little things count when it comes to TV and how it relates to school performance. Things like reduced sleep time caused by late television viewing. Loss of productive play and self-learning time and a reduction of time spent on school work and studying. TV is like a drug, it acts like a good emotional and mental laxative. It lets us forget the things that we don't want to deal with and allows us to take the back seat and partake of the action guilt free. All the while we let our school books rot and our lessons pile up until we have no way to make up for the lost time. This wasted time is hard to fathom. Millions of man-hours wasted on what, a useless story, a few loud explosions and a dead policeman. We should be spending this time on reading, writing, arithmetic, and maybe even some thing we could turn into a career. You don't see an awful lot of people getting paid to watch television.

 

An interesting comparison was done of SAT test score before and after the introduction of television. They found that between the years of 1964 and 1981, The exact years when children who had been exposed to large doses of television during their language learning years came up to take the SAT challenge the researchers witnessed a steep decline from the years before television. I can see how this wasted time that was before used on studying and hobbies was now channeled into six and seven hours of viewing a day. (Plug-In Drug) Could mean the difference between Harvard University and Southern Utah University.

 

Television has proven to be one of the most effective drugs in human history. We can learn to live without it and we can learn to enjoy our families more. We must separate ourselves from that great monster. We must do as my family did and eliminate the need for television. I can honestly say that my grades went up. I had more time to read. We started to do things together as brothers and sister. Now we just have long conversations with each other. If you would like to see the good changes it can make in your life and the numerous benefits that abstinence provides then join me. Throw you TV's in the street.

 

Bibliography

Bazalgette, Cary, David Buckingham. In Front of the Children. Suffolk, Great Britain: St.

Edmundsbury press LTD, 1995.

Comstock, George A., Eli A. Rubinstien, and John P. Murray. Television and Social Behavior: Television's Effects: Further Explorations. Rockville, MD: National Institute of Mental Health, 1972.

Comstock, George A., Eli A. Rubinstien, and John P. Murray. Television and Social Behavior: Television and Social Learning. Rockville, MD: National Institute of Mental Health, 1972.

Winn, Marie. The Plug-In Drug. New York, NY: Viking Penguin Press, 1985.

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